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Interlopers of empire : the Lebanese diaspora in colonial French West Africa

Author: Andrew Arsan
Publisher: New York : Oxford University Press, 2014.
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
This work is the first comprehensive history of the Lebanese migrant communities of colonial French West Africa, a vast expanse that covered present-day Senegal, Côte d'Ivoire, Mali, Guinea, Benin and Mauritania. Where others have concentrated on the commercial activities of these migrants, casting them as archetypal middlemen, this work reconstructs not just their economic strategies, but also their social and  Read more...
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Genre/Form: History
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Andrew Arsan
ISBN: 9780199333387 0199333386
OCLC Number: 871820627
Description: xviii, 341 pages ; 24 cm
Contents: Introduction : moving peoples, entangled histories --
A tale of two mountains --
Roots and routes : the paths of Lebanese migration --
Fears of a 'Syrian Guinea' : commerce, contagion and race in French West Africa, 1898-1914 --
Failing to stem the tide : Lebanese migration and the competing prerogatives of the imperial state --
Merchants and magpies : the trading lives of eastern Mediterranean migrants --
Here, there and everywhere : the lives of Lebanese migrants in AOF --
The ties that bind : diasporic political culture in AOF --
Coda : the making of postcolonial selves.
Responsibility: Andrew Arsan.

Abstract:

This work is the first comprehensive history of the Lebanese migrant communities of colonial French West Africa, a vast expanse that covered present-day Senegal, Côte d'Ivoire, Mali, Guinea, Benin and Mauritania. Where others have concentrated on the commercial activities of these migrants, casting them as archetypal middlemen, this work reconstructs not just their economic strategies, but also their social and political lives. Moreover, it examines the fraught responses of colonial Frenchmen to the unsettling presence of these interlopers of empire--responses which, with their echoes of metropolitan racism, helped to shape the ways in which Lebanese migrants represented themselves and justified their place in West Africa. This is a work which attempts not just to reshape broader understandings of diasporic life-of Janus-like existences lived in transit between distant locales, and de- pendent on the constant to-and-fro of people, news, and goods--but also to challenge the way we think about empires, and the relations between their constituent territories and diverse inhabitants.

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